Welcome to the wide crazy world of TJ Klune

As you can see, this is a blog (a blog, you say? You're like the only person in the world that has one!). Here are my promises to you: I promise to up date this as much as I can. I promise that at some point, you will most likely be offended. I promise you may suffer from the affliction the Klunatics know as Wookie Cry Face. I also promise to make this some place where you can see how my mind works.

You've been warned.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

WWA Post Release Thoughts and the Future Of BOATK

You know what sucks?

Saying goodbye.

I can’t speak for other authors, but when you spend as much time with characters as I have with Bear, Otter, and the Kid (and Anna, and Creed, and Mrs. P), they almost take on a life of their own. The boys are a part of me, and I won’t ever be rid of them as long as I live, not even if I wanted to be. I’ve spent the better part of four years with them, in one version or another, and when I finished writing Who We Are, it was very difficult to believe that it was over. I wrote the last words, and while it was a time for celebration, I wanted frantically to continue the story and just write and write and write some more so I wouldn’t have to say good-bye to them. I love them for everything they are, warts and all. They’re not real, of course. But that in itself is a lie because they are real to me. In my head I know how they sound, how they walk, how they laugh, and how they cry. I know the clothes they wear, what their likes and dislikes are. What they fear. What they cherish.

Sometimes, I wonder if I know them better than anyone else.

I wanted to discuss a few things about the book, so obviously there will be spoilers. If you haven’t read Who We Are, its best you go there first before reading any further. For the rest of you, here’s a little taste of why certain things happened.


Okay, here’s the deal. While I was initially writing Who We Are, Chapter One: Where Bear Goes To War was initially the prologue, an introduction back again to the boys. I was doing the first round edits for Elementally Evolved Book I: Burn and reading an m/m shifter book, when a realization hit me. One, it seems that a lot of m/m shifter books have collapsed in on themselves, becoming nothing more than the same story over and over and over again. Alpha Werewolf (or were-duck or were-penguin) is leader of his pack/almost leader of his pack/should be leading his pack and does not have a mate (and has never considered that his mate might just be a man! GASP! SHOCKING). Enter in said mate, most likely tinier in stature, but may also be… wait for it… A CHOSEN ONE!!!!!!! ZOMG!!!! Angst and strife ensue, but they always end up together. And then I realized that for all intents and purposes, I’d sort of done the same thing with Burn. Oh sure, there’s no shifters in the Elemental world, but essentially, it’s the same thing. It seemed I could escape certain clichés even though I tried, so I wanted to poke fun at myself and the shifter genre as a whole. Thus, the prologue to WWA was born. I tried to pile on every single cliché I could think of when writing it and had a blast doing so. This prologue was written back in September and was submitted with the finished manuscript to WWA.

However, certain… events… conspired earlier this year, as have already been discussed to death. I was asked repeatedly if the Kid would ever have any kind of response to these… events. Hence a certain snarky response about how shifter stories all seem the same and how people on the internet need to find things to do. That’s the only change I made to the prologue. Obviously, it was not born of any kind of malicious intent. Some people seem to find it funny, others seem to be pissed off that I wrote that specific line. Look: the whole prologue was me making fun of myself, and I really don’t have a mean bone in my body for it to be some kind of angry statement. I’ve learned it’s easier to laugh at something than to get angry. A little self-deprecation never hurt anyone. Lighten up!


The dinner scene. Most of the major players in the BOATK world together for the first time. Many of the responses I have received about WWA have mentioned this scene in one way or another. Before I began writing WWA, I made a conscious decision that I wanted the sequel to be funnier. I felt that certain parts of BOATK were dragged down by unnecessary melodrama and really, hadn’t Bear and the boys suffered enough? (And, already knowing how the last quarter of the book was going to go, I also wanted to lure the reader into a sort of false sense of safety as they read, only to get to the last section and have that ripped away. Yes, I am somewhat of a sadistic bastard.) For the dinner scene, I wanted the dialogue to snap, and be continuous, with multiple conversations running over each other, in a way that would initially be confusing, but would melt together into Creed’s revelation of his anger/weirdness at the end of BOATK. It was probably the most technically difficult scene that I had to write in WWA. It went through several revisions until I was satisfied. I think Bear’s drunken coming out stream of consciousness speech to Otter and Anna’s parents is probably my favorite part of the whole book. Bear is a light weight mess and I adore him. From the Kid inadvertently spilling that Anna and Creed are doing the baby-making floor tango, to Creed’s realization that he has to let Bear go (and that maybe, just maybe, he’s in good hands regardless), I wanted to show that families can be just big, drunken clusterfucks. I hope you got that from it too.


Is Bear gay? Straight? Bisexual? Gay for Otter? Gay for Otter’s penis? To answer this question, I’ll refer you to one of the last lines in Bear’s narrative, where I think I quietly put that question to rest: “I’m a gay bug zapper, remember?” It can be read two different ways.


People who follow my posts know that I alluded to a scene in WWA where even I couldn’t keep from breaking down. Did you figure it out? No, it wasn’t when the Kid and Bear were lying in the bed after Otter and Bear returned from the gay bar (though, I will admit, the line the Kid says to the effect that without Bear, he’d lie down and die got me a bit choked up.) No it wasn’t when Otter came home to find Bear in the bathtub. It wasn’t Bear at the beach in his Tux waiting for Otter to show, knowing he wouldn’t and the reason why. It wasn’t the poem that followed (Bear! Bear! Bear!), or the rings, or the hospital, or Julie Mckenna returning. It wasn’t even Otter waking up.

It was the transition, you see, between Otter waking up and Mrs. Paquinn passing away.

Holy fuck me sideways was I a mess writing that.

I knew the whole last quarter of the book was going to happen before I started writing the book itself. I needed Bear to get knocked on his ass so he could finally open his eyes to see just how strong he really is. And I knew the only way he could see that is if everything happened at once. Otter. Mrs. Paquinn. Anna and Creed’s pregnancy. Julie returning with the truth of it all. I needed him to be the strong one, but of course, being Bear, it would be somewhat misguided (it is Bear, after all).

But what I did not expect was how much it would hurt getting to Mrs. P.

It’s a relatively short scene, her passing. Bear and the Kid in her room by themselves, knowing how their future is now awake in another room, watching part of their past slip away in front of them. It’s relatively short because I could not write more about it. I’ll admit to having a Wookiee cry face while I wrote that scene, and when Bear said, “Go on, old girl”? Gaaaaaaaaaaaah. I took a break for a few days after that to make sure it’s what was right for the story, that it was right for the characters.

And I found that it was.

I needed Bear to find his strength. And he did.

And I needed the Kid to hold his head tall, because well... I'm not done with him just yet.


So. The Kid is in love with Dominic. And Dominic is…what? Gay? Bi? Straight? He told Bear he was fucking hot in the car. At the end, he’s dating some big-boobed woman named Stacey. And a separation is looming between Tyson and Dom, the Kid graduating early and going to school across the country, Dominic staying in Seafare where he's a cop.

Out of everything I’ve received as a response to WWA, the majority of it surrounds the epilogue and basically boils down to this: “TJ, you aren’t going to leave them like this, right? There’s going to be another book, right? RIGHT?!?!?!?!?!”

Come on, folks. What kind of an asshole do you take me for? If I didn’t feel that I could continue the story, I would not have left the epilogue as it was. That’d be a big ol’ downer, wouldn’t you say? So, while it may not be today, or tomorrow, or even in the next couple of months, you should know by now as well as I do that the Kid will start chattering in my ear again one day and I’ll feel the need to open up a new word doc and start a new story about Ty and Dom (and, just between you and me, I already have some of the story worked out in my head, and already know the first line and what the first chapter (prologue??) is going to look like). So yes, definitively yes, saying right here and now: BOATK3 will happen.

So that’s it. For now. I have to say goodbye and let them go, at least for a little while. The boys will go do their thing and I will go do mine. We’ll meet up again, down the road. And who knows what will happen then?

But… but… if I close my eyes, there are times that I think I can hear the ocean, that I can smell the salt in the air. There are times I’m on a little section of beach that no one really seems to know about. One eye is trained to the sky, to watch out for a certain seagull. In the distance, I can see three guys. One of them is big. One is just a little guy. The last is somewhere in between.

They all raise their hands and wave and it’s like they’ve been waiting for me.

I wave back.

And my God does it feel like coming home.



  1. I'm crying again. Dammit, TJ. Beautiful post. *HUGS*

  2. I loved Who We Are - I actually think I liked it more that BOATK, mostly due to the humor in the book. I laughed out loud several times and I love it when a book can make me do that. I also admit to crying a few times, at the times you mentioned but also when it is explained why Otter's parents are leery of his homosexuality. I completely identified with that kind of irrational parental fear, not with the same exact circumstances but having an event happens that generates fearful/protective behavior with regard to a child.

    Who We Are will definitely be a book I read again - thank you. I will look forward to the future when Ty's story can be continued, he is a remarkable character.

  3. Thanks for giving us readers the hope of Dominic and the kid getting their story. Just loved Domnic.

  4. It's an incredible book and I loved it thru and thru! I love being so involved in a story; it's rare and you have an wonderful gift. Thank you!

  5. I couldn't stop laughing while reading Who You Are. And I'm so glad to know that we will see them again someday. Thank you TJ.

  6. I feel like my friends just moved away and I know I will never get to hear about their lives again. I picked up Bear, Otter and the Kid the day before yesterday and finished Who we are just now at nearly 3:00 am in the morning. Absolutely loved these characters. I miss them already!

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  8. I just finished the book and I loved every minute of it!!! I thought the first book was funny but you didn't pull any punches in this one. My family was looking at my weird because I would burst out laughing every few minutes. I was crying I was laughing so hard and then I was crying because you really almost killed me with everything you did to poor Bear. Then you redeemed yourself because once again I was laughing but still crying so anyway now my face is all red because I been crying for hours. I guess as you would call it that I had a "Wookiee cry face".

    The only problem is that now I am done the book and Thank God you are writing another one. I loved the epilogue even though through the book when Ty and Dom were interacting I thought to myself that Ty has found his Otter which I hope he has. Please write as quickly as you can I think I can say that your fans are waiting with anticipation. Thank you for writing such entertaining characters in your books. The boys are already missed!!!

  9. I wondered, if it would be okay, if I tell you a secret... I used to write all the time, but then my writing became limited, because teachers would have certain expectations of what they wanted, what they needed to see. We would be marked down, or my friends would criticise me if I did something out of the ordinary. Then my Mum died...and my muse just vanished, I lost any inspiration...and I never even thought about writing. Yet it was the one thing that used to keep me sane. In 2010, I started going to University, and I took English Lit, but, it came with the combined honours of Creative Writing...(I hadn't written anything for 3 years) and I had to force work out of myself, and it was rubbish.

    Since I started reading same-sex romance books, there have been 3 books, and one series that have really resonated with me. The 'Cut and Run' Series, by Urban and Roux, 'Tigers and Devils' by Sean Kennedy and 'Bear, Otter and the Kid' and 'Who We Are'.

    BOATK was the first gay romance that I bought to read, it started over summer last year, my friend had given me a load of e-books on a pen-drive and I read a few, and at the end I noticed the Dreamspinner website, so I had a look, and BOATK was in the 'have you read' section. I bought it, I read it and I fell in love. Bear has these heartbreaking consistent monologues that change and develop as he matures or comes to realisations. The Kid makes me smile and laugh in so many ways and Otter...the big guy, he reminds me of a long past friend and it makes me happy.

    I was with you when Mrs P died, I cried the whole way though that transition, from Otter waking up, to Mrs P passing away.

    Bear and Otter, and Simon and Declan and Ty and Zane, have all impacted my life in some-way, made getting through Uni just that little bit easier, made me laugh and cry.

    Bear's earthquakes I can relate to, as I myself suffer panic attacks, after reading BOATK I tried the bath tub scenario...and it worked! I did feel safer lol.

    I'm going to assume that you hear all the time about how your characters affected someone in some way, shape or form and 'blah blah blah' (totally not from Bear :p) and you talk about how they have affected your own life.

    In November 2011 I started writing again. Coincidently, hours after I have read BOATK for the first time. I took part in the NaNo WriMo and although I only completed 27,000 words, it was me, writing again, and YOU inspired that. Something Bear said, combined with something Simon said (Simon Murray:Tigers and Devils) and a lecture I had on 'cliché' and suddenly I wanted to write. As of yet, I am still on 27,000 words, and it's been a few months, but my characters are back, I'm writing easier and getting better grades in my CW course work, and I don't worry so much.

    So, yeah, THANK YOU for writing about Bear, Otter and The Kid (Mrs P, Creed, Anna and their parents) THANK YOU for making something fall back into place, THANK YOU for making me feel 'normal' (is that even a word?) and...just...Thank you...thank you so much, for helping me to believe in myself again :)

    Looking forward to more from Bear, Otter, The Kid and Dom...

  10. Mr Klune,

    I just wanted to let you know that I have linked this to my revised review of BOATK and hope that link meets with your approval. I loved BOATK and wanted to revisit it prior to my review of WWA on Tuesday (which I loved even more if that is possible).
    Both reviews can be found at http://scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.wordpress.com
    BOATK Monday and WWA on Tuesday. Burn's review is also there although perhaps you might not be as pleased with that one. I was thrilled that we will hear more from the Kid and Dominic. Thank you for that and all the rest. I will be rereading them for years to come.

  11. It also helps to put down a email address. Sigh. Mother's Day, what can I say!


  12. I can't wait to read the 3rd book in this series.

  13. You made me laugh, you made cry, you even made me hate you and turn around and love you again! The way you write, the way you tell a story what can I say but, Thank You! You are incredible! and I don't know if that says how much I have loved and appreciated ALL of your books you take me through the wringer emotionally. Now bring on Burn #2

  14. I just finished WWA - one of the best gay stories ever. After reading the first, I kept your name on my daytimer to check for the sequel every week for months! Well worth the wait!

    I so hope this one gets made into a movie too!

  15. Jesus Christ this was the best book ever in the history of books no matter the genre! I cant wait for BOATK3 im counting imaginary days in an imaginary chalkboard for it to arrive, though, looking at the circumstances I will happily wait till everything is perfect and okay =) Best wishes ;)